Friday, June 5, 2009

Our Glue

I appreciate the initial focus of Carol Bechtel’s General Synod President’s report. Many of her predecessors’ reports explore the important question: “What is the glue that holds us together?” (e.g. What is our identity?)

Indeed, that is a crucial issue for a denomination which began nearly four centuries ago as a distant extension of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands. Whatever utility that identity had in the 17th century has inexorably diminished over the years. One continuing aspect of our collective identity has been the enduring commitment (at least officially) to our historic confessions. That’s one reason why the proposed addition of the Belhar Confession is a very big deal. I resonate with Carol’s concluding answer to this question: “GOD.” Amen! How that “rubber meets the road” as we seek to engage the surrounding culture is a major challenge and an opportunity for creativity.

With regard to worship, Carol observed that no one format has a corner on what it means to be reformed. She insightfully alluded to the “Our Call” logo which includes phrases reflecting the six dimensions of “Our Call” but none of which mentions worship. That actually seems depicted in the stylized graphic image at the center of the logo which does seem to depict worship (without mentioning it in words).

Indeed, our glue (identity) is shared commitment to God. Thanks, Carol!

Lee DeYoung

1 comment:

  1. "What is the glue that holds us together?" is the same question that was asked by then President Len Kalkwarf at the General Synod of 1985 held in Kalamazoo, MI. That led to the creation of an identity task force that held a number of identity sessions throughout the denomination, culminating in a weekend "identity conference" in St. Louis, MO in early 1987. Having been on the task force and at the conference, I can say that nothing definitive emerged. I find it interesting that the same question is being asked nearly 25 years later. I hope we don't spend a lot of our financial resources (as we did a quarter century ago) to find out that we're still diverse.


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